Taylor McDonald

Jul 27, 2016  |  Today's News

IL Corn values the efforts of farmers and members of the agricultural community that actively seek out sustainable farming methods, including protecting against nutrient loss. Education about these issues is critical in order to create effective nutrient loss reduction strategies. Therefore, Lincoln Land Community College has designed a program for farmers and their trusted advisors to learn about and to prepare for this critical issue.

Responding to 21st century agricultural water quality issues, Lincoln Land Community College’s Workforce Development department is launching two Agricultural Watershed Management certificate programs this fall for farm owners, farm operators and agricultural service providers, as well as traditional agriculture and environmental science students.

The new courses are being offered at the LLCC-Springfield campus, 5250 Shepherd Road, beginning Aug. 22. Additional courses will begin Oct. 18, Jan.10 and March 14.

“Agricultural nutrient loss reduction and sediment retention are very valuable in today’s farming economy, resulting in a higher net income for the producer while increasing land values to the owner," said David Bowman, workforce coordinator and developer of the Agricultural Watershed certificate program curriculum. “This pioneering new program is a cross between hands-on laboratory practice and online learning for emerging agricultural watershed management technologies, and aligns within stated goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Our program expects to contribute to the reduction of nutrient and soil sediment losses for Lake Springfield with its watershed, an EPA-designated “priority watershed,” and around the state, while building Illinois’ bioeconomy.”

The Agricultural Watershed Management program focuses specifically on training agricultural professionals to meet the ever-growing requirements of the 21st century. Graduates will be well-positioned to advance their careers or education in a field that is experiencing demands for greater productivity while improving input efficiency and soil retention. Instructors for the program are veteran educators and practicing professionals doing applied work in their fields while teaching. Students benefit from direct interaction with faculty members who bring their expertise, commitment and passion for teaching and advancing the agricultural watershed principles.

Courses starting this fall include Agricultural Watershed Management, introducing students to federal, state and local government agency policies, non-governmental organizations and best management practices. Conservation Practice Systems I focusses on surface-level cultural activities to build soil strength through cover crops. Spring courses will focus on sub-surface activities (water management) in Conservation Practice Systems II, and Nutrient Use Efficiency will compare inorganic and organic nutrients.

Courses are primarily 50 percent lab time and 50 percent lecture/online time, with the exception of Agricultural Watershed Management and Increasing Readiness for Change, which are both 100 percent lecture/online.

The program curriculum was created through funds from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant.

More information about the Agriculture Watershed Management program and courses at LLCC is available by contacting Bowman at 217.786.2317, or online at You can also download a brochure of the program here